TL;DR The party finally get the hell out of The Death House. An agent of strahd reveals that the party is being tested. An agreement is made to assist the children of the late Burgomaster. On their way to Vallaki, the party stop by the The Bonegrinder to save some children at risk for being turned into dream pastries
Resuming the encounter with Lorgoth the Decayer, the party adeptly draws the shambling mound into the ritual chamber and then outdistance the beast on their way out and up to the main basement level. From there, they recall the exit up to a trapdoor that exits in a main room directly next to the main entrance on the 1st floor. Upon arrival, they find that The Death House does not want them to leave. Each doorway is replaced with rhythmically swinging scythes of death and there is a toxic smoke billowing out of the fireplaces rapidly filling the volume of the house from the top down.
Carric Oakenheel wack at the adjoining wall to the foyer and finds it easy to destroy, however a swarm of rats flees from the hole in the wall. However, the party does not delay and rapidly exit the house before allowing the swarm to fully form. As soon as the party look back from the street, they see the swarm stopped at the threshold of the main door.
Before the party is able to muster themselves any further, they encounter a Mystery Woman who only reveals herself as an agent of Strahd von Zarovich and informs the party that they have passed their first test. Furthermore, she admits that the party is being watched and will continue to be watched as they move on to further trials. She then fades into the shadows of a nearby alleyway and disappears.
The party proceeds to the center of town, and find Ismark Kolyanovich within the Blood of the Vine Tavern. He confirms what the party had suspected, that the letter beckoning them here is written by none other than Strahd himeslf, and the letter they found on the dead body by the road, was indeed penned by his father, Kolyan Indirovich. His father wrote that letter and entrusted Dalvan Olensky to attempt an escape from the mists in order to warn travelers away from the Village of Barovia. He obviously failed in this task.
Ismark tells the party that his father died last night in a final attack on his life by minions of Strahd. He was killed by Dire Wolves and his body is at their home guarded by his sister, Ireena Kolyana. He pleads with the party to take his sister far from here and protect her. The party agrees.
On their way to the Village of Barovia Burgomaster’s Mansion, the party stops at the only store in town. The party pitch in together and sell their only treasure thus far in order to free up gold to purchase Grom the Blind of Nesmé an appropriate cloak to cover his empty sockets. After this, the party follows a wail of crying to find an older woman in tears. Mad Mary tells the party that her young daughter, Gertruda ran away. She is convinced that she is in Castle Ravenloft. A diary found, informs the party that Gertruda was kept locked away in her house her entire house.
The party make their way to the Burgermeister house to find the house is in very poor shape. Like other houses in town, it is old and decrepit, but also covered in several claw marks around the windows and doors. Some windows are shattered and appear to be freshly boarded up. Inside, the party meets Ireena Kolyana. Discussing between the brother and sister, it becomes clear that Ireena refuses to go anywhere until her adopted father is laid to rest. Ismark recommends taking the body to the Village church and the party agrees.
The party carry a casket containing the body of Kolyan Indirovich to the church. Once there, they enter to find Donavich praying and weeping. Upon arrival, they also begin to hear the cries of his sone, Doru from below, “FEED ME!!!” and “I SMELL NEW BLOOD!!!”. The party ignores the please of Doru and Donavich is only too eager to help the party and redirect them away from his son held down below.
The party begins to dig a grave and offer a makeshift ceremonial burial. Toward the end, they notice a huge gathering, about 2 dozen, of dire wolves. They believe they see a cloaked, tall and regal man in the back of the pack hidden in shadow. Once the body is buried, the pack begins to gallop away.
On the way back to the burgermeister house, the party encounters an old woman with a cart taking a little boy away with the parents crying for help. They confront the old woman who mentions something about the family “owing payment”. Ismark Kolyanovich warns the party that this old woman is more than she appears. As the party intimidates her, she releases the boy, Lucian Jarov, and scurries off without a fight and leaving her cart behind. Ismark explains that this woman sells dream pastries. Killian takes a dream pastry to Mad Mary, encourages her to eat it, and leaves a dagger within hand’s reach of her.
Leaving the Village of Barovia
The party stays the night at the burgermeister’s house without problem and then head out in the morning. They find rolling hills leading to a fork in the road. At this fork, there is a hangman’s gallows. The party deliberates on which way to take and decide to head to Tser Pool, where Ismark Kolyanovich mentions a Vistani camp and possible source of information. As the party leaves the crossroads, one member looks back to see a body hanging from the gallows that was not their prior! As they investigate, this body has the face of this party member!
At Tser Pool, the party finds a camp if Vistani. They roll up and join the camp who welcomes them in and begin to provide drinks and food. One member of the camp begins to tell tales. One tale involves a wizened wizard who once came through this same part a year ago with a mob he assembled from the surrounding villages in a revolt against Strahd von Zarovich. This wizard was very powerful, however he failed in his attempt and was cast down from the mountain which sets Castle Ravenloft in a lightning ball of glory. He was never found, but surely it is believed to be impossible to have survived such a fall.
The party is informed that their seer has been awaiting them, expecting them, and wants to offer a fortune telling. The party enters her wagon and Madam Eva Tells the Group Their Fortune:
- Madam Eva points to the first card and she tells you, "This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy.
- She then flips the card over, revealing The Master of Swords, “the Warrior”, and says, “That which you seek lies in the womb of darkness, the devil’s lair; the one place to which he must return.”
- Madam Eva points to the second card and she tells you, “This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope.”
- She then flips the card over, revealing the Master of Coins; “the Rogue”, and says, “I see a nest of ravens. There you will find the prize.”
- Madam Eva points to the third card and she tells you, “This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight.”
- She then flips the card over, revealing the 7 of coins; “the Thief”, and says, “What you seek lies at the crossroads of life and death, among the buried dead.”
- Madam Eva points to the fourth card and she tells you, " This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness."
- She then flips the card over, revealing The Ghost card and says, “I see a fallen paladin of a fallen order of knights. He lingers like a ghost in a dead dragon’s lair”
- Madam Eva points to the fifth card and she tells you, “Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him!”
- She then flips the last card over, revealing The Tempter card and says, “I see a secret place – a vault of temptation hidden behind a woman of great beauty. The evil waits atop his tower of treasure.”
h2 After their fortune.
After receiving the fortune readings from Madam Eva, the party talk the Vistani into lending some horses, which they do in return for the party to take them to another Vistani camp outside of Vallaki once they arrive.
The party head down a path and find the Tser Falls. They decide to investigate, because “surely there’s something behind the waterfall!”. And, indeed, they do find a cave. This cave is booby trapped with a lightning device, which they are able to disarm and find a small amount of treasure. Killian is pissed off at the story telling Vistana back at camp for not telling them about this and decides to head back and punch him. This Vistani responds by glowering Killian with an evil eye and cursing him with damage susceptibility.
NOTE: Sorry, still working on finishing this post…